Franchising can be big business these days. More and more we are seeing parent companies with multiple franchise brands under their roof, in some cases many brands. Often these large franchise platform groups are backed by private equity and have a mandate to grow both the individual brands and to add new brands. They are leveraging the talent, systems and resources at the corporate level across brands to create more successful franchisees.
So, why would someone looking for a franchise consider these big organizations over single brands franchises?
Looking at these platforms you will see that most have picked a theme like fitness or home services. While each brand may have a specialty, the infrastructure, systems and technology are likely relatively interchangeable. To those services they will add things like marketing, professional recruiters and supply chain where they can build more efficiencies and savings for franchisees.
For franchise owners this helps you free up time in your business to focus on customers and growth as opposed to getting stuck in the office managing process. It will help control costs on staffing, marketing and supplies. Your employees may have tech that makes them more efficient and able to generate more revenue per employee.
But will you get lost in the system?
I have not seen a franchisee getting lost in a multi-brand portfolio be an issue unless they don’t engage the resources available to them. Each of these platform companies is a collection of brands. Within the brand, each company pretty much looks like any single brand franchise from the top down. The leader of that brand has peers that are running the other brands in the portfolio, and they answer to a few executives at the top of the platform. Alongside those brands are departments that handle the corporate services like marketing, technology and possibly much more.
A franchisee that wants to engage the resources available to them may actually have far more people at their disposal in these systems than single brands. Use the tools available and grow your empire.
There is another great benefit to these multi-brand platforms. As you grow the first brand under that umbrella, you will eventually want to expand. For a lot of franchise owners in single brand systems this often means expanding further and further out geographically.
A past candidate of mine started growing his empire in New England. As that market got built out he called the franchisor and asked where he could expand to. The next closest territory was San Francisco, so he took that and started growing there. He ran one coast, his Wife ran the other. They were sometimes ships passing in the night.
A few years later he called back again, and the next closest territory was outside the country. They passed on that.
Another approach leverages these multi-brand platforms so that when you build everything you can within the geographic area you want to focus on, you pick up another brand within the same platform and grow it in the very same geography. This is sometimes referred to as “Brand Stacking” The benefit goes well beyond not having to get on a plane to see your operations.
Because you are in the same platform, you are getting training and support from the same organization. The technology is often the same. The marketing team, and approach is often the same. Sometimes you even go to the same National conferences at the same time. Networking with franchisees of other brands in your platform could offer both great ways to compare best practices and to find business opportunities you didn’t know existed.
Before these big platforms became pretty common, the way a franchise owner would stack concepts was by adding completely unrelated brands. While they were building in the same geographic area, every aspect of their business is different. While we are very good at finding our candidates single brands that can coexist together and won’t cause the candidate to give up their lifestyle, it is far easier to stack within a platform if you are happy with the resources and team available to you.
You may wonder what happens if the platform gets sold. What we have seen is that at that point your brand(s) are run by a team of employees and executives, not a Founder. The big cultural shifts that we see sometimes when a single brand gets sold and the Founder exists, seem to be much more muted if there is any discernable change at all. For franchisees, their business goes on and they keep growing their empires.
This is another option, a different approach.
Should you overlook single brands? NO!
Explore all of the options that fit you, compare and contrast the ways you could leverage those systems to grow your empire.
What is your success story? Let’s go find it!
George Knauf is a highly sought after, trusted advisor to many companies; Public, Independent and Franchised, of all sizes and in many markets. His 20 plus years of experience in both start-up and mature business operations makes him uniquely qualified to advise individuals that have dreamed of going into business for themselves in order to gain more control, independence, time flexibility and to be able to earn in proportion to their real contribution.
Contact the Franchising USA Expert George’s Hotline 703-424-2980.